10 questions facing the New York Giants this season
Does David Wilson work in big doses?
As a rookie, his playing time was extremely limited but extremely tantalizing. This year, there will be very few limits on his carries or opportunities, especially before Andre Brown returns from his fractured leg. It remains to be seen how Wilson's speed will be affected by the steady pounding of an every-down back. He says he'll be fine. Just don't expect the same ratio of home runs to at-bats he had as a pinch hitter last season.
Will back surgery help or hinder Jason Pierre-Paul this season?
In the long run, it should help, as it alleviated the pain he was playing through for most of his career. He said he was at the point that getting into a three-point stance, let alone running into another NFL body down after down, was excruciating. But in terms of 2013, it could take time before he returns to his Pro Bowl form. If he does at all.
How will Justin Pugh handle his rookie season?
Injuries gave Tom Coughlin no choice but to put Pugh at right tackle to start the season, and he'll be the first rookie since 2004 to start the opener on the offensive line for the Giants. The question is whether he will do well enough in his first few games to keep the job when David Diehl returns from thumb surgery. There's a good chance he will.
How many games will Hakeem Nicks play?
It's amazing how quickly the narrative on Nicks has turned from a player who bounces back from injuries very quickly to one who is hurt too often. This is Nicks' fifth season with the Giants and he has yet to play all 16 games in any of them. With the potential for a big contract looming and the pressure to prove he is not as fragile as many believe, he'll do everything he can to be out there each Sunday.
Which rookie will make the biggest impact on the team?
Damontre Moore was virtually unblockable in training camp and in his first preseason game before being sidelined with a shoulder contusion. That could make his splash when he re-enters the rotation at defensive end in the regular season even more spectacular. Moore's snaps will be limited, but he'll have a chance to create pressure on just about all of them. Pugh will have a more significant job as a starter, but down for down, Moore's impact should be greater.
Is Corey Webster washed up?
He'll have to prove he isn't, and fast, because the Giants have plenty of experienced depth at cornerback and some young up-and-comers more than willing to take his spot if he struggles the way he did last year. With the emergence of Prince Amukamara at the opposite corner, teams are sure to target Webster even more than they have in the past.
Can kicker Josh Brown break the team record?
No one in Giants history has kicked a field goal longer than 56 yards, a record set by Ali Haji-Sheikh when he did it twice in the 1983 season. Lawrence Tynes' career best during his six years with the Giants was a 53-yarder. But Brown, whom the Giants brought in for his strong leg, has kicked a 58-yarder in his 11-year career and was good from 61 in a high school playoff game in Oklahoma. The Giants won't shy away from giving him chances on long attempts, and the 30-year-old record could fall.
Are the Giants' linebackers overlooked by design?
They're certainly not where the team spends its money. In fact, the three projected starters for the opener -- Keith Rivers, Dan Connor and Spencer Paysinger -- are all on one-year deals and making less than $1 million each. That said, the Giants expect big things from Rivers if he can stay healthy and could see a breakout season from Paysinger, who looks to be the team's only every-down linebacker in a scheme that will rotate bodies freely.
Will Brandon Myers approach the numbers he put up in Oakland?
Last year as a Raider, the tight end caught 79 passes for 806 yards. The Giants haven't had production like that from the position since Jeremy Shockey's rookie season in 2002. Eli Manning loves throwing to his tight ends, but he'll have too many other targets at his disposal. Myers might end up with half as many receptions this season.
Is this Tom Coughlin's last season coaching the Giants?
The man just turned 67 years old and has 11 grandchildren and two Super Bowl rings. What more does he want to accomplish? He says he doesn't like the word "satisfied,'' but becoming the first coach in franchise history to win three Super Bowls might be enough to satisfy even Coughlin. There might be a better chance of the Giants finding themselves in the market for a new head coach if they win it all than if they don't make the playoffs.